Mind the gap: Are we planning our major transport projects by a roulette wheel?

Ron Hoenig was standing up for Alexandria in parliament last week:

I call on the Government to reconsider its plans for the Sydney Metro. It has been almost two years since I first urged the Government to reassess its route and stations for the Sydney Metro Southwest project. I told the House then that the location of the Waterloo station was a mistake. It represented a missed opportunity to provide for the fastest growing and most densely populated urban renewal zone in Australia: Green Square east, between Zetland and Waterloo, near Danks Street. The New South Wales Government seems dead set on making yet another error with this project. Not only is the Waterloo stop in the wrong place, but the whole alignment through my electorate is wrong.

Sydney Metro does not service the rest of the urban renewal corridor that runs from Waterloo through Zetland and Rosebery. Those suburbs probably cannot be adequately serviced by light rail, but I commend the City of Sydney for setting aside reservations for such a project anyway. In any case, the Government has decided on a route and an alignment for the metro, and I am determined to make the most of it in the interests of Heffron residents. Today I met with a group of concerned and well-informed Alexandria residents who have put together a comprehensive written submission outlining their concerns with this project, namely the oversight of not locating a metro rail stop in Alexandria. I have previously made representations requesting that the Government consider a metro rail station at Alexandria, but they were rejected out of hand.

Alexandria is a rapidly growing suburb. It is at the fringe of the mammoth Green Square project and the Ashmore Estate project. Alexandria is smack bang in the middle of the “global economic corridor” from Sydney’s central business district through to Sydney Airport and Port Botany. It is also in the heart of the City of Sydney’s southern employment lands, a significant segment of industrial land still remaining in close proximity to the CBD. Put simply, Alexandria is one of the most important suburbs in the most economically significant precinct in the country, and this Government will not connect it to its city-shaping metro project. The Sydney Metro from Bankstown to Rouse Hill will feature 31 stations across a 66-kilometre route, with each station about two kilometres apart. Bizarrely, the longest stretch between stations is in my electorate, between Waterloo station and Sydenham.

Alexandria is the midpoint between those two stations and is crying out for its own metro stop. The metro tunnels cross the interface of Alexandria’s residential and industrial precinct at Euston Road and Maddox Street. It would be the perfect location for an Alexandria metro station and would require no alteration of the tunnel alignment. However, the New South Wales Government wants to completely pass it by. It is an astoundingly poor decision. We should be taking the advice of the London Underground: “Mind the gap.” I have read the Government’s preferred infrastructure report, which apparently examined the viability of such a station. Despite meeting the same criteria as the Waterloo, Martin Place and Pitt Street station assessments, and exceeding the criteria for Crows Nest and Barangaroo, Alexandria was dismissed as not meeting the project’s objectives.

Are we planning our major transport projects by a roulette wheel? There has to be some respect for an objective assessment process.

I conclude by warning that Alexandria is facing a disaster. It will bear the brunt of the WestConnex project when the St Peters Interchange dumps more than 62,000 vehicles every day onto local roads, with no prospect of their dispersal. It will be too late then to put more buses on or to simply build a light rail line. The whole suburb will choke. If the residents and workers of Alexandria are to have any prospect of getting out of their homes and to work, they need metro rail and they need it soon. It is infuriating that the Government is happy to build a mammoth motorway through the heart of my electorate, but not to put a railway station in the most glaringly obvious location possible. I call on the Minister to reconsider the Governments’ decision to reject a metro station at Alexandria. I am happy to provide this submissions to the Government tonight. I urge the Government to set aside the belligerence with which it ordinarily treats these sorts of suggestions and to take the time to meet with these very impressive residents who have done a substantial amount of work, and hear their case.”

It’s good to know Ron Hoenig has been listening to us.

Let’s hope the Government was listening to him.

This is a real reminder of the importance of residents keeping in touch with their local members.


1 thought on “Mind the gap: Are we planning our major transport projects by a roulette wheel?

  1. I have lived in Alexandria for most of my life, it used to be a nice place to live, now it is traffic congestion most of the day and really bad until 9.am, I can’t imagine what effect The West Connect will have on vehicle emissions over Alexandria, OK, as long as it isn’t in your back yard:>) Sydney over populated now.

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